Alligators and Internet Commentors

I try to stay away from internet comments. People are horrible when they don’t have to look you in the eyes while they talk. But I have peeked here and there in the last couple of days, perhaps filled with a false sense of security from the love shown over the weekend.
Within minutes of The Disney incident being reported, so soon after it happened that the parents clothes were probably still wet, the perfect people of the world came out and started their sermons of how this would never happen to them, what were the parents thinking, and my personal favorite, this seems fishy I bet they killed him (WHAT??!!). There were no details yet and yet people were already entering judgement mode.
¬†Yesterday I saw a comment that just stuck with me. “Those people should be shot. They don’t deserve to be parents.” I can’t guys. I just can’t. This may be the breaking point where I quit humanity. This person’s mindset is these people need to be shot because of a horrible incident that took their own baby’s life. And I am sure if I had the stomach to continue reading, there would be people agreeing. They took their family on a vacation where dreams are supposed to come true. And now? He is dead. Gone. Never again will his mama be able to sneak a whiff of that magical area where his hair meets his neck. Never again will daddy get to read him a story before bed. He will not potty train, go to kindergarten, learn to ride a bike. He will not date, go to college, fall in love and have his own babies. Gone. Their child was literally dragged into the waters as his father tried with every part of his being to get him back. And people are saying he should rot in hell for “letting it happen”. Have you ever seen a video of an alligator attacking? I have. They are stealth, they are smart, and they are so incredibly powerful. But he didn’t “let”it happen, he fought. He fought when there was little to no chance of him winning. And I guarantee you that he will live with the fact that he wasn’t able to save his child for the rest of his life.
These parents weren’t being negligent. Did they make a bad choice? Perhaps, I am not here to say. But they were doing what thousands, possible millions of people have done before them. There is even a lady on FB who posted pictures of her son literally standing where this little boy was, an hour before. Yes, there are no swimming signs. They were splashing on water’s edge, near a play area, at the happiest place on Earth. They were a family from Nebraska, hindsight may be 20/20 but honestly would it have crossed your mind if you were in their shoes or the shoes of the people before them, that the reason there was no swimming signs was the threat of gators in a man-made lake at Disney. A lake with a freaking beach? The thing is, I don’t know if it would have to me. I think I probably would have allowed my kids to play at water’s edge before we moved to Florida. Before we lived in Florida, I don’t think I knew how real and common alligators were. They were a myth, a running joke about Florida, something you might see if you took an air boat through the Florida Wetlands. I never in a million years before I moved there thought I would ever just see one walking down a road, and yes, that did happen. Having grown up somewhere where bodies of freshwater were our playground, I can say without a doubt that it wouldn’t have occurred to me and I probably would have seen no harm in my child getting their toes wet as the sun set over the castle and we waited for the fireworks to begin.
But then again, I will be the first to admit that I make mistakes. Everyday. We all do, people. Even you, perfect parent over there, tsk tsk’ing. You too. I learn from my mistakes. And then I wake up the next day and make a new set of mistakes. And I count my blessing every damn day that my mistakes and the mistakes of the people around me did not cause tragedy in my life. I count those blessings, one…two…three…every night as I kiss my babies. A kiss on the forehead. An Eskimo kiss. And then a butterfly kiss. And then usually again, because we never get enough Eskimo kisses in this house. I am guessing that mama would do anything for just one more Eskimo kiss. And that is more tragedy than this mama’s heart can bare.
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